KiwiSaver fund backs build

An ethically investing KiwiSaver provider is backing community housing with a multi-million dollar loan.

KiwiSaver fund Generate Wealth is helping fund ŌCHT’s latest development at Willard Street, Spreydon.

Generate Wealth will provide $14 million for investment in Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust’s Willard Street development.

It’s ŌCHT’s first private sector loan to finance new homes. The deal was facilitated by Community Finance.

ŌCHT chief executive Cate Kearney says the loan provides a significant boost to the Trust’s ability to plan for and build new community housing in Ōtautahi.

“We’re more than six years into a big, long-term job to grow community housing in Christchurch. We’ve delivered 235 new homes since 2019 but demand grows. We’ve more than 2500 tenants but there are still more than 1900 people waiting on the Public Housing Register for a home in Christchurch.

“Finance is critical to this. It must be as demonstrably sustainable as our business model now and for the long-term, to ensure we’re able to consistently provide new community housing at a pace that matches the ever-growing need in our rapidly growing city.

Work on ŌCHT’s newest homes, at Willard Street in Spreydon, continues into the new year.

“We’ve worked hard with other community housing providers to demonstrate an investment in community housing is an investment worth making. Developed and managed well, community housing is an asset class that can deliver socially responsible returns.

​​​​​​​”With our development loan arrangement, that return comes from building warm, dry homes to house people in need, to help provide the secure foundation from which they can build a future for themselves and their families.

“It means doing this for now and for the future by consistently improving community housing to ensure our homes are comfortable and cost effective for decades to come. It means providing long-term solutions for long-term social returns.

“Generate’s purposeful, ethical investment in our work will help us ease the pressures of housing scarcity and homelessness and give our communities new opportunities to grow.”

ŌCHT’s first loan will finance the 35 new homes we’re building at 21-64 Willard St, where we’re replacing 26 studio units with a new community built to the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Homestar 6 standard.

The new community will comprise 18 one-bed homes, seven two-bed homes, nine three-bed homes and one five-bed home. Five are accessible, and others can be converted with demand.

Work is well advanced. Prefabricated, insulated walls have been erected on their insulated concrete slab foundations as the project makes good progress towards opening early next year.

The Christchurch City Council owned and operated the Willard St complex as social housing until it was transferred to ŌCHT as part of the Christchurch Housing Accord.  The 83-year-old weatherboard-clad complex was assessed as not meeting the Trust’s aim of providing warm, dry, safe and cost-effective homes well into the future.

The homes are designed by South by South East Architects and will be delivered by Consortium Construction. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development supports the development and ŌCHT is contracted to provide homes for people on the Public Housing Register for 25 years.

Since 2019, ŌCHT’s opened new community housing homes in these communities: Louisson Place, Opawa; Lesley Keast Place, Hornby; Charles Street, Waltham; Hastings Street East, Sydenham; Tīwawaka Lane, St Martins; Reg Stillwell Place, New Brighton; Hoiho Lane, Korimako Lane, Karoro Lane), Sydenham: Gowerton Place, Richmond; Coles Place, St Albans, and Glovers Road, Halswell.

Published December 23, 2022

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The Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust
61 Kilmore St,

Hours: 8.30 am-5.00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Postal: PO Box 53, Christchurch 8140

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